Visibly disabled Daniel Willis was busy stocking shelves at the local department store at which he is employed when a timid voice behind him asked, “Excuse me, do you work here?”
The bold letters spelling “EMPLOYEE” on the back of the bright red shirt were a clue to the nature of Willis’s employment status. However, the customer, Eloise Harrell, didn’t want to make any unfounded assumptions.
“Maybe he works somewhere else and didn’t change,” said Harrell weakly, ignoring the employees around the store wearing identical red “EMPLOYEE” shirts. “You never know. Or he could own a shirt from this store that says ‘EMPLOYEE’ without actually being an employee at this store.”
Harrell speculated that Willis could have borrowed the shirt from a friend, a relative, a significant other or even a caretaker. He may spend his time at this store stocking shelves as a hobby.
“Disabled people can work. I know that,” insisted Harrell. “I wanted to make sure. It would be awkward if he wasn’t an employee. But disabled people can definitely have jobs.”
After Willis stood up and turned around, Harrell resisted the urge to ask where he found the official department store name tag that’s affixed to his “EMPLOYEE” shirt.